Background: We tested the hypothesis that subjects with relatives who suffered from abdominal pain or bowel dysfunction would be at an increased risk of more persistent irritable bowel syndrome. Methods: A valid, self-report questionnaire was mailed to an age- and gender-stratified random sample of residents, aged 30-64 years, in Olmsted County, MN, USA, on three occasions over a 4-year period. Persistent irritable bowel syndrome was defined as the presence of irritable bowel syndrome on at least two of the three surveys, and fluctuating irritable bowel syndrome was defined as the presence of irritable bowel syndrome on only one of the surveys. Results: Subjects were less likely to have persistent irritable bowel syndrome over the age of 50 years [odds ratio (OR), 0.20: 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.09, 0.47]. A positive family history was reported by 23%. A family history of gastrointestinal symptoms was independently associated with persistent irritable bowel syndrome (vs. no irritable bowel syndrome: OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3, 4.9) and fluctuating irritable bowel syndrome (vs. no irritable bowel syndrome: OR, 2.4; 95% CI. 1.3, 4.4). However, subjects reporting a positive family history were not more likely to report persistent vs. fluctuating irritable bowel syndrome (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.5, 2.9). The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2, 4.3) and a history of food sensitivity (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.9, 6.9) were the only other predictors of persistent irritable bowel syndrome. Conclusions: A history of abdominal pain or bowel troubles in first-degree relatives appears to be independently associated with both persistent and fluctuating irritable bowel syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)